In this blog are a series of paintings by John Nash of Bristol.
In 1925 and 1937, on the latter occasion with Eric Ravilious, he visited Bristol, which he greatly enjoyed, especially the docks and paddle-steamers; these, he wrote, ‘were the inspiration of many works’. At the same time he visited Bath, which he found equally stimulating.
Nash had been advised to work at Bath and Bristol by Edward Wadsworth when they were working together in 1920 on a mural project. Nash went to both cities in the summer of 1924 and again in 1925. Looking at the painting below of Seaport by Wadsworth it is clear his style and suggestion had an effect on Nash.
Edward Wadsworth – Seaport, 1923
John Nash – The Dredgers, Bristol Docks, 1924
John Nash – Bristol Docks, 1924
John Nash – The Dredgers, Bristol Docks, (likely 1924)
John Nash – Bristol Docks, 1925
Ravilious and Nash had got to know each other at the Royal College of Art as pupil and teacher, then later as colleagues. It was Nash’s recommendation that they both went to sketch at Bristol Docks. Ravilious wanted to try to subjects They painted the same location at night, when the docks were quiet and the boats tied up. It was about the same time as Ravilious painted Newhaven also.
Eric Ravilious – Bristol Docks, 1938
Above is the Eric Ravilious painting he made sitting next to John Nash at night, so they could paint the docks while the boats were tied up. Below is the John Nash painting and a cleaned up version of the drawing.
John Nash – Nocturne: Bristol Docks, 1938
John Nash – Nocturne: Bristol Docks, Gridded Sketch, 1938
John Nash – Study of ‘Pump Room’, Plymouth Dockyards, WW2
Above is one of John Nash’s war paintings from his brief stint as a War Artist in the Second World War. It was sketched on site and it has notations for colour to be worked up later into an oil painting. I mention it as the figure head was used below.
John Nash – Handbook of Printing by W S Cowell, 1947
In the Handbook of Printing by W.S. Cowell there is an illustration by Nash of Bristol, it’s a modern day version of Turner’s The Avon Gorge and Bristol Hotwell as seen below. I thought it was a nice way to see him looking back twenty years whilst winking at Turner.
J.M.W. Turner – The Avon Gorge and Bristol Hotwell, 1792
The Hotwell is the port area of Bristol.